The Chicago LGBT Hall of Fame, celebrating its 30th year, will present a virtual induction ceremony with the 2021 inductees on Monday, Nov. 15, at 6 p.m. WGN-TV personality Dean Richards will host the event. Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot and Illinois Governor J. B. Pritzker have included congratulatory remarks to the inductees. Viewers will be able to access the virtual induction ceremony on YouTube via the Chicago LGBT Hall of Fame's page at chicagolgbthalloffame.org/virtual-induction-ceremony. The multi-media presentation honors those who were inducted this year in a live ceremony.
This year's inductees include the following individuals and organizations:
- Chicago Urban Pride - planning events and programming for Chicago's African American LGBT community for more than twenty years.
- Ginni Clemmens (posthumous) - one of the earliest openly queer recording artists and was an important part of Chicago's folk music scene.
- Lisa Isadora Cruz - an advocate for transgender rights among minority communities.
- Thomas Hunt - better known in his persona of Mz. Ruff N Stuff, he is a nightclub promoter, entertainer, and fundraiser for many community organizations.
- Wayne Johnson - winner of the Today Show's national "Domestic Diva" contest and a contributor on local television shows.
- Otis Mack - comedian, promoter, host, and emcee extraordinaire and CEO, and founder of Heavy Diva Productions.
- Claudia Mosier - therapist and active member of Chicago's LGBT community for the last 43 years.
- PRIDEChicago -the management and planning team for the annual Pride parade for the past 47 years.
- Ralphi Rosario - DJ, producer, and Grammy nominee, he has released several full-length albums and remixed tracks by many headlining artists.
- Betty Lark Ross - founding member and later co-chair for the Chicago chapter of Gay, Lesbian, and Straight Teachers' Network (later renamed GLSEN.)
- Kirk Williamson - a journalist who has covered Chicago nightlife for 11 years.
The Chicago LGBT Hall of Fame also posthumously honored an ally, as a "Friend of the Community"
- Lana Hostetler (posthumous) One of the earliest allies in Chicago's second wave of LGBT civil rights work in the 1980s, she co-founded Equality Illinois.
Rick Karlin, co-chair of the board of the Friends of the Chicago LGBT Hall of Fame explained, "Last year we had a virtual ceremony due to necessity. This year we were able to have a live ceremony, but so many members from out of the area mentioned how much they enjoyed the virtual ceremony, we thought we'd produce one in addition to the live event which was held at Sidetrack on October 6."
Co-chair Kathy Caldwell added," It also serves to permanently record the historic event. Last year's induction ceremony continues to be viewed regularly."
Earlier this year, the Friends of the Chicago LGBT Hall of Fame called for the community to nominate LGBT individuals, businesses, organizations, and allies (Friend of the Community) who have made contributions to the quality of life of Chicago's LGBT community or of the city of Chicago. Those nominations were then vetted and voted on by a selection committee comprised of individual inductees to the Chicago LGBT Hall of Fame.
The Chicago LGBT Hall of Fame is the first city-sponsored hall of fame dedicated to LGBT people, organizations, businesses, and communities in the United States. From its founding in 1991 until 2016 the Gay & Lesbian Hall of Fame relied on support from the City of Chicago. The city ceased funding the Gay & Lesbian Hall of Fame in 2016 as part of then-mayor Rahm Emmanuel's cost-cutting programs. At that time, it was rechristened the Chicago LGBT Hall of Fame and has since been supported and maintained by the Friends of the Chicago LGBT Hall of Fame, a 501c3 not-for-profit organization, with approval from the City of Chicago.
The first Chicago Gay & Lesbian Hall of Fame ceremony took place during Pride Week and was held at Chicago City Hall. Mayor Richard M. Daley hosted the ceremony and afterward, photos of the inductees were displayed in City Hall. The Hall of Fame has no physical facility but maintains a website, which allows anyone to visit the Hall of Fame at any time. The Illinois Holocaust Museum has also included a presentation of those inducted to the Chicago LGBT Hall of Fame as part of its "Rise Up" exhibit on the LGBT civil rights movement (running through May 2022).
For more information, including directions on how to nominate someone for the Chicago LGBT Hall of Fame visit the organization's website chicagolgbthalloffame.org or its Facebook page, www.facebook.com/groups/56108152083/ .